How to Clean A Sharpening Stone: Step-by-Step Guidelines

A sharpening stone is used to maintain and sharpen knives in the kitchen. Hence, it is a part and parcel item of most homes. However, only a few people would know that the sharpening stone itself needs maintenance and cleaning.

When a sharpening stone gets dirty and dull, most people will throw it away to get a new one. But in reality, you can quickly get back the stone’s sharpening capacity with a little effort. For this, you would want to know how to clean a sharpening stone.

Of course, primarily, we will discuss the cleaning process of the stone using honing oil. But our discussion also includes the alternatives to honing oil and things you should avoid for a better cleaning result of the sharpening stone.

Guidelines on How to Clean A Sharpening Stone

When you want to keep the sharpening stone neat and tidy, it doesn’t ask you to be a rocket scientist. It can be done with a few straightforward steps.

Things you will need:

  • Honing oil
  • Towel and rags
  • Soapy lukewarm water
  • Clean water
  • Toothbrush (old)
  • Paper towel

The steps are mentioned below with detailed descriptions:

Step 1: Placing the Towel on A Flat Surface

Locate a clean and flat surface and place the towel on it. Then, you must keep the sharpening stone on it. It will help you to catch the dirty particles coming from the rock while cleaning. So, you can put it in a bin after the cleaning session is over.

Step 2: Use the Honing Oil

Honing oil is used widely to sharpen metal elements. It can be a liquid, emulsion, or chemical solution. Sometimes people will call it machining oil or cutting oil as well.

Step 3: Scrub the Stone

While you pour the honing oil on the stone, ensure that it has spread all over the stone properly. Now you will have to scrub the stone using the old toothbrush. Alternatively, you might use the scotch brite for the scrubbing.

Also, always move the brush in a circular motion and be mild with the scrubbing procedure. While you continue the scrubbing process, flecks of dust and debris will come out of the stone pores. Use the rag to wipe off the flecks correctly.

This would help you to remove the debris from the sharpening stone properly. However, sometimes the stone might be too dirty to be wiped out with a toothbrush. Then, you will have to use steel wool for the scrubbing process.

Step 4: Washing and Rinsing the Stone

After scrubbing the stone, put it inside the lukewarm soapy water for a few minutes. It will help in softening the tough debris and remove them at ease. When you are satisfied that you have removed the tiniest debris from the stone surface, rinse it with clean running water.

Clean running water use is recommended since it will remove the soapy particles and remaining debris from the stone. You can quickly use the kitchen sink to rinse off the sharpening stone.

Step 5: Dry the Stone

You might have to repeat the sharpening stone’s washing and cleaning several times, depending on its dirtiness. Then you will have to dry the stone entirely.

If any water remains on the stone, mold will quickly grow on its surface, leaving the stone for cleaning again. So, use a dry and clean rag to clean each inch of the sharpening gravel correctly. Finally, pat the clean towel and put the stone in a dry place for a few hours.

It would soak the stone’s dampness and make it ready for sharpening the knives or for storage.

Alternatives to Honing Oil to Clean the Sharpening Stone

Honing oil is the most widespread and dependable cleaning agent for sharpening stone, metal elements, and such things. However, you might not have the honing oil readily available at home. So, what do you use to the stone, then?

Take our tips from the following elements-

  1. WD-40:

WD-40 is a lubricant that comes as an oil spray. It penetrates the toughest surface and removes the debris from deep inside. It successfully wipes out the residue from the sharpening stone from the core of it.

Spray and coat the sharpening stone with the WD-40 for a few minutes. Then, rinse the spray-coated stone in warm soapy water for the best results.

  • Bar Keepers Friend:

Bar Keeper Friend is a professional cleaning agent for metal and sharpening stones. It is almost as effective as the honing oil to clean the stone. You will have to dust the cleaning item on the entire sharpening stone until it forms a coating.

The other processes of cleaning the stone remain the same.

  • Warm soapy water:

If you don’t have any of the cleaning items mentioned above at home, using warm soapy water will do the job effectively too.  You might also use liquid detergent with warm water to clean the sharpening stone.

Tips on Cleaning Oiled Sharpening Stone

An oiled sharpening stone will soon catch oil and grime. The oil also helps the grime stick enormously on the stone, making the above-mentioned steps to clean the stone inadequate.

At first, you will have to boil the sharpening stone for at least 5-7 minutes.  The high temperature of the boiled water will loosen the chemical structure of grime and oil, making the cleaning easier. After that, keep the stone in lukewarm water with soap mixed into it for 15 minutes.

The rest of the cleaning steps will be as mentioned earlier.

Things to Avoid While Sharpening A Knife

  1. Always be attentive to details while sharpening the knife with the stone. So, you must not lose your attention.
  2. Don’t use the finer sharpening stones at first. When you have removed the knife’s dullness with the coarse stone, use the finer ones for finishing the sharpening process.
  3. Don’t put consciously too much pressure on the knife. Also, don’t repeat the sharpening process more than 10 times on each side of the blade.


When you successfully and effectively know how to clean a sharpening stone, it will save you from buying a new one. Also, it will allow you to sharpen the knife inthe kitchen for the best cooking experience. Also, make sure you store the sharpening stone in a dry place after cleaning it properly.

If you have any practical solutions to clean the sharpening stone better, we will welcome your idea wholeheartedly.

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